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Amanda Johnston

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Amanda Johnston

Amanda Johnston earned a master of fine arts degree in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine. She is the author of the poetry collection Another Way to Say Enter (Argus House Press, 2017). The recipient of multiple Artist Enrichment grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women and the Christina Sergeyevna Award from the Austin International Poetry Festival, she is a member of the Affrilachian Poets and a Cave Canem graduate fellow. Johnston is a Stonecoast MFA faculty member at the University of Southern Maine, a cofounder of Black Poets Speak Out, and founding executive director of Torch Literary Arts. She serves on the Cave Canem Foundation board of directors and currently lives in Austin, Texas.

by this poet

             after Gwendolyn Brooks 
I count the years after you, 
know your would-be ages and remember
the sadness that consumed me with the 
bitter sound of you, my almost-children.
Could not conceive in conceiving you 
our muted
            after Yusef Komunyakaa 
My black face fades,
hiding inside black smoke. 
I knew they'd use it,
dammit: tear gas. 
I'm grown. I'm fresh. 
Their clouded assumption eyes me
like a runaway, guilty as night,
chasing morning. I run
this way—the street lets me go. 
I turn that way—I'm inside